Education Secretary Michael Gove insists that his department's revamped test to decide the suitability of applicants to train as teachers is simply so that "parents can be confident that we have the best teachers coming into our classrooms."
Admirable sentiments, but Gove's current obsession is persuading state schools, both secondary and primary, to opt out of local authority control in favour of academy or free school status.
He has laid down that those running these liberated institutions should be free to employ unqualified teachers if they choose to do so.
This indicates either that his testing proposal is simply window dressing to back up his constant assertions that local authorities are failing our children or that, if the rejigged test is indeed essential, he is unconcerned about the level of education offered by his pet schemes.
As teachers' union NUT leader Christine Blower points out, schools are recruiting a growing number of specialists to cover specific areas.
While these specialists should have strong literacy skills and a good grasp of mathematics, it may not be essential for all to have a similar grasp as those whose core responsibility is teaching English or maths.
Teachers and their trade union representatives have a well-deserved reputation among parents for wishing to see higher quality and status for the teaching profession, but this doesn't seem to rub off on politicians, especially those whose knowledge of the challenges facing state education is largely theoretical.
The workforce and its unions ought to be embraced by ministerial representatives for consultation on how to improve all aspects of teaching.
But union resistance to government insistence on reducing the value of teachers' pay and pensions, undermining local education authorities and seeking ways to reduce government expenditure is taken as justification for treating teaching unions as the enemy within.
Ministers know that their ideologically motivated formulas do not command support within the profession, so they prefer to issue edicts rather than speak to the people who know.
Win for equality
The equal pay deal won by Unison Scotland for members working at the City of Edinburgh Council is more than a one-off isolated victory.
Following close on the heels of the Supreme Court ruling in favour of 170 former Birmingham City Council women workers on the same issue, Edinburgh's settlement is clearly part of a trend.
Both local authorities had originally defended discriminatory pay levels, suggesting there were no direct comparators because of a gender division between various job categories.
But the courts have ruled that this institutionalised prejudice is invalid and that women workers can compare themselves with men employed in different council workplaces.
Edinburgh appears to have reconciled itself to the case for justice more readily than Birmingham, which dragged out the case brought by its former staff all the way to the Supreme Court.
It would be surprising if there were not similar cases in the pipeline, given that gender discrimination has been systemic, women workers are not prepared to suffer such mistreatment and trade unions are up for the fight.
However, these cases are evidence of ongoing society-wide injustice with regard to women's rights.
It's not just pay. The government's cuts agenda weighs disproportionately more heavily on women.
Unions know that the equality battle is far from won and must continue to place themselves centre-stage alongside women to renew the struggle.
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